Friday, 16 December 2016

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

Season's Greetings from all at Grillust Towers

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

First Years, Fourth Project - Drawing with Understanding

Here's the project that immediately followed animation, two weeks devoted to drawing.

We believe that all our students should be confident image makers. That could be illustrators producing convincing, complex artwork or graphic designers producing a quick, plausable sketch for a sheet of packaging visuals.

Underpinning any ability to draw has to be a thorough understanding of what the artist/designer is actually seeing.

Perspective, in particular, helps explain what we see in that wonderfully complicated three dimensional world that surrounds us...

Here's a quick overview of some of the work produced by both Illustration and Graphic Design Students...

In the timber yard (some lovely 2X2 and 4X2 and 6X2 and...) 

Here's a K6 (Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott).
That's a red phone (or fern if you're from Hull) box to you and me.

A city scene in two-point perspective.

Just checking perspective works in the real world (and yes, it does).

Elipses, elipses.

Most everything can be better understood (and drawn) when you have a knowledge of perspective.

A towering bookcase (thanks to three-point perspective).

A dramatic, low viewpoint in one-point.

A lovely 'Hansel and Gretel' chalet.

Rubik's cubes give a wonderful excuse for multi-vanishing point perspective.

Finally, here are some pieces from illustration students. They were asked to create a scene that not only used perspective but that also used light to create mood and atmosphere.

Mac Malfunctioning Mystery Solved

The mystery of the malfunctioning of three of the Macs here at Grillust Towers was solved this morning when this picture was snapped by an undercover reporter. Grillust operatives Tony, Jim and Dave (all 33) had obviously been imbibing a little too much Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

First Years, Third Project - Animation

Here's a small selection of work produced by our plucky first year students during a two week, intensive introduction to the wonderful world of creative animation.

The first week was all about getting ideas down on paper (storyboarding) with the final, 30 second animations being produced during week two.

Here's a sample of the storyboards created during the first week:

Once the ideas were down on paper the hard work of animation could begin...

Slow and steady - the world of stop-frame animation (courtesy Laura and Emily)

Look!!! A tiny kitchen - the lovingly crafted set for the following animation...

Let's see a few more...

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bovill/McCarthy Day at Grillust Towers

2010 graduates, Gary Bovill (33) now a senior designer at MC2, and James McCarthy (33) similarly positioned at Drumbeat, made a triumphant return to the studio with a splendid talk on 'What makes a successful brand' followed by a quick and dirty challenge to 3rd year students (all 21) to propose brands for one of two enterprises - one for a residential/retail/office warehouse development, the second being a perennial Grillust™ favourite, Pies!
A meat pie. An officially ratified food group at Grillust™ HQ.
Students ended the day by presenting their ideas, and all received positive and productive feedback from Gary and James. A big thank you goes to the both of them for taking time out of their busy schedules and showing such an interest in the current crop of Grillust™ hopefuls.
Four minds as one, sort of like The Beatles. Bearded 3rd year students (L-R), James Cook, Tom Selwood and Kyle Bridson contemplate the truly important things in life alondside MC2 design supremo, Gary Bovill.

Grillust Graduate to Judge D&AD Awards in 2017

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) is the leading professional organisation for those working in design and advertising. The D&AD Professional Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world. And one of our own graduates, Rick Banks, who is now a leading figure in the graphic design world, has been asked to be a judge of the Awards in 2017. We remember Rick metaphorically 'in short trousers' and now look where he's got to! 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Another Derwent Prize Winner!

For the second year in succession, one of our BA(Hons) Illustration students has won the coveted Derwent Prize for Drawing. Our heartfelt Grillust™ congratulations go to Illustration graduate, Catt Fearnley, the worthy winner in 2016.

Catt was presented with her prize in the magical surroundings of Carlisle Cathedral Hogwarts School.

From left to right: Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, Catt Fearney, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Professor McGonagall
You can see more of Catt's magnificent work here, and you can find more about Derwent's magnificent range of drawing and colouring media here

And, don't forget, a framed example of Catt's work, or pack of Derwent's finest crayons would make an ideal Christmas gift!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Portfolios, Personal Statements & Interviews

As the UCAS season approaches, here's a post that tries to answer those perennial questions about portfolios, interviews and personal statements...

The first thing you need to know is that we're looking for four things…
Passion: Someone who shows a passion for and interest in their chosen area of study.
Potential: Someone in whom we see potential. Raw talent! We’re not looking for the fully finished article!
Personality: Someone who has opinions and something to say. Someone we can work with productively over the next three or four years. 
Preparation: We like to see students who’ve made informed University choices, so, ave you… 
a.     Checked us out? Website, blog, Instagram, etc. 
b.     Visited us? Open day, privately arranged visit, etc. 
c.     Compared us to other centres?

We find out about these four things through your personal statement, the interview and your portfolio of creative work.

Personal statement: It’s your chance to tell us who you are, what makes you tick and what’s informed your University choices. 
Portfolio: We want to see what the you do! It’s an important way to show your skills, ideas, the pride in your work, etc. Also, we feel it would be discourteous to the you and your tutors to dismiss the fact that you’ve spent at least two years working to improve your creative skills. 
Interview: Primarily, it’s the you we offer a place to, not a portfolio, not a personal statement. Of course, all of these things are important, but talking to you enables us to draw out your passion for the subject. It also offers you the opportunity to ask us questions.

Personal Statements
This is your introduction to us.
Make it brief and to the point. Don’t procrastinate. We want to know about you, we want to get a taste of your personality. 
What are your passions, what are you interested in? Studies and extra curricular
Who are your creative influences? Who inspires you and why?
What are your achievements? Voluntary or community work; defining moments, etc
What are your ambitions? Future goals

Write from the heart, edit with the head.

The Portfolio
Remember, this is your chance to show us what you can do. You are in control of what goes in your folder and how well it’s mounted or presented, so remember, a few dog eared drawings or a notebook half filled with copied cartoons stuffed in a carrier bag probably isn’t going to send a good message. Overall we a looking for a portfolio that demonstrates a level of pride in the work and attention to detail – both in the work itself and its presentation – but your portfolio could contain...

Drawing from life – draw what’s actually in front of you; not images copied from pictures or photos, or from your imagination. 
Design projects – with an element of visual problem solving 
Art projects – painting, sculpture, installation, etc. Photographs of the big stuff, that tells us about recording skills, photographic control, pride, attention to detail, etc. 
Sketchbooks – personal drawing/sketching, supporting school or college project work, etc. 
Printmaking – avoid repetitions with minor colour differences 
Photography – Artistic ventures, not holiday snaps! 
Research, ideas and development work – thoughtfully presented as a package of roughs.

Any digital files should be supplied on a memory stick in .jpg or .pdf format, not native files.

The Interview
This is the time we get to find out about each other and we try to make it more like a relaxed discussion than an interview.

Try not to be nervous, we’re trying to get the best out of you, not trip you up or make you look foolish.
We’re trying to find out about you and your passions in life.
We don’t expect you to know it all, but we do expect you to know a little.
You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.
It’s a 15 minute discussion, don’t be afraid to join in!

Dress code? There isn’t one, just wear what you feel comfortable in.


Friday, 4 November 2016

VÄG, the Swedish psychedelic rock band - You heard them in Carlisle first!!!

Our friends and Grillustasi™ entrepreneurs, Snask, have some work featured on packaging blog The Dieline. It's for their Swedish psychedelic rock band, VÄG, acquired on a drunken night out (well, that's how the tale is told).

Freddie & Magnus insisted on bringing VÄG along when they visited us a year or two back, and jolly energetic and psychedelic they were too. Well, now you can by them on vinyl by the looks of it...

 Shake, rattle and roll Freddie & Magnus!

The Roundhouse publishes posters archive celebrating 50 years as a venue

Re-blogged from our friends at It's Nice That, there's a visual cornucopia of poster design on display - just follow the link... 50 Years of The Roundhouse

Third year graphics, first project

After a long hot summer watching daytime TV, going to festivals, playing the latest video games, raiding the family fridge and other traditional student pursuits; the return to University can be a shock to the system. In this project, students produced directed research based on a single word and then designed and produced a monograph using that research directly...

Everything starts on layout paper of course. Kyle Bridson (21)

..before layouts are taken into the digital realm. Kyle Bridson (21)

Two experimental spreads by Emma Davidson (21)

Will Fuller (21) gets all 3D visually

Metamophosis. Becca Lettice (21)

Experimental type spreads, Becca Lettice (21)

Gravity, James Musson (21)

Experimental typography, James Musson (21)

Experimental typographic spreads by Elinor Prescott (21)

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Aldi Tat-Aisle Disaster

Nothing brings joy to the hearts of Grillust lecturers Dwayne, Jim and Tony (all 33), quite like a visit to The hallowed Aldi tat-aisle. Whether it's an opportune purchase of a Rio Olympics branded shell suit, unearthing a military grade, cold-war era, soviet nail gun and associated air compression unit buried in a pit of unlicensed hello kitty duffle coats or simply picking up the latest fad in kitchen utensil ('as seen on TV' Vegetable Spiralizer anyone?) they absolutely LOVE IT!

It's in the very 'unknown' of what might be held in those twin lanes of promise that grasps their attention and commands their loyalty so keenly.

However, sad times awaited one lecturer in particular. Today, it's our unfortunate duty to report back with this sad image, taken by Dwayne Bell (illustration lecturer and clothing for builders enthusiast), who, when we were able to coax words from him had this to say, "Nowt. They were empty. I got off my bus 6 stops early, as I do every Wednesday, to take in the glory of the tat aisles. I was hoping to find a gas powered roof felting tool; there's been rumours online (Dwayne's an avid 'Aldi tat-aisle forum user. username: Tat'll-do-nicely) of someone finding one at the Aldi in Dumfries recently. I was particularly excited. I don't even know what a gas powered roof felting tool is. To walk in and find this! Well, the bottom fell out of my world".

Dwayne tried to make the best of the situation by purchasing some polish strawberry chocolates and a large decorative box of turkish delights but, in his own words "it's just not the same".

We contacted Aldi who pointed out that there is still a large amount of winter clothing available for purchase or simply comedic 'trying on' sessions; including ponchos and 'kinda cowboy-ish looking hats'. They have extended an invite to Dwayne to return to the shop to take advantage of this.

Meanwhile, rumours abound of a shipment of North Korean work-boots that might be showing up in these very aisles in the near future. Is this the calm before the storm?

Monday, 31 October 2016

Famous Artworks Ruined By Clients Who Think They Know It All

Supremo Grillust graduate, Petra Blahova, sent us a link to a recent post on - the title of this thread says it all...

Here's a link to the original post on

...and another to Petra's own website, chocked full of visual treats!


Friday, 28 October 2016

First Years Second Project - Old School (Yeah!)

It's been a very busy last two weeks for our first year students as they completed the visual and technical 'assault course' that we call Old School...

Manual skills still underpin much of any working Graphic Designer or Illustrator's life. Think of all that packaging that needs to be mocked-up or presentation boards that need to be professionally assembled. 

Say Aaaaaaaaah!
Great Illustration is not only underpinned by an ability to draw well but also by great technical skills. The reality here is there are no 'quick fixes'. It takes years to become a really good painter, or pen & ink artist, or printmaker or...

'Old School' is our opportunity to allow the students to find out how good, bad or ugly their making/drawing/gluing/painting skills actually are right at the start of their course. It helps them identify what they're good at and much more importantly focusses their attention and concentration on working hard to develop those areas that they're not so good at.

Happily, we can report that the overall standard was very good. For a generation who hasn't done any technical drawing or that much painting, we were particularly impressed with their ability to handle constructed letters, draw straight lines, wield a compass accurately, understand the complexities of oblique, isometric and orthographic projection and produce impressive copies of great illustrator's work.

Here's a small selection of what they did...

Create a perfect, 70mm high cube

You're fired!!!

Window mount a postcard. 
Use the correct tool (knife) and this can be achieved beautifully (left). Use the wrong tool (hamster) and the results can be a little disappointing (right).

Cut a perfect, freehand circle 
(Neil Armstrong walking on my face, Buzz Aldrin walking on my face...)

Two attempts at a stab-stitched book with elaborate graduated hole motif. 
One excellent, one not so excellent (can you tell which is which)?

A tidy piece of Orthographic Projection

Mmmh, lovely crisp embossing

Stretched paper containing a colour wheel and tonal scales

Exercises for Graphic Design Students

If you follow these instructions you should produce...


Hand-rendered type (pencil on tracing paper)

Original poster (gouache on paper) by Ludwig Hohlwein...

...copies by our students

Freehand drawing with a brush

Exercises for Illustration Students

Original by John William Waterhouse...

...student copies

Original woodcut by Clare Leighton...

...Scraperboard copies

And again

Watercolour by Arthur Melville...

...and its copy 

 Original acrylic painting by the great Brad Holland...

...and the copies

After working so hard we gave them the whole weekend off (to recover). Come Monday it was back to work and they are now busy on a two week animation project.